Town property is town property 0
Dave Maris of Gryphon Blooms stood before council on June 12 in defense of his eye-catching piece of garden art that the town says was erected on their property. And what Maris learned from council is that size does matter.
After building a piece of garden art for a display at the Cottage Show, Maris erected the structure at his shop on HWY 28.
"This is an attempt to beautify and enhance the entrance to the town," Maris explained. Gryphon Blooms is located across from Hydro One and entering Bancroft from his end of town, nothing is really that eye-catching.
Passing by the works yard, Tim Hortons and the OPP, by the time you get to Gryphon Blooms it certainly does stand out with bright flowers, greenery and now the wooden structure.
"People are stopping to chat about the structure," Maris explained. "This was built to promote the town at the Cottage Show and Councillor [Paul] Jenkins said it was a good reflection of Bancroft."
The structure, eye-catching or not, is on town property and at a previous committee meeting on May 22 works manager Chris Ray wanted a notice issued to remove the structure in 14 days.
Ray was adamant in the meeting that it be removed because no permission had been sought, there was no communication with the town and it had been erected on the town's property.
The committee members decided to leave the matter until they could speak with Mr. Maris.
"I've always utilized that area understanding that it is temporary because in the winter months I push the snow up on the banks there," Maris explained. "This was brought to my attention- the complaint about the structure that it was encroaching on town property and infringing on a by-law and I still don't know what by-law it is. I have no letter from the town- I would like to know what by-law."
Mayor Jenkins responded to Maris saying that the structure was eye-catching but that they do keep their eyes on these things.
"Town property is town property," added Deputy Mayor Wiggins. "Hopefully we can work through this without too many scars on each other's foreheads."
With more discussion but no sharing of what by-law was being violated, it was suggested that Maris could keep the large, wooden structure erected until Sept. 14 but he needed to show proof of insurance and agree to pay the town if the town had to take the art piece down after Sept. 14.
The town also asked Maris to agree that they would not be responsible for damages if they had to remove the structure.
"There are other businesses that have done the same thing," Maris said. "Has everyone else been issued with similar requests?"
Mayor Jenkins responded, "it's the size- it's more of a structure."
Looking for equality, Councillor Whitehead jumped in to the exchange.
"Mr. Maris makes an interesting point to see what other structures are encroaching," Whitehead said. "If we are going to apply a by-law fairly they have to be applied universally."
Mayor Jenkins said she was not aware of any other violations.
Maris had no choice but to agree to the conditions set out by council.